BlueScope blast furnace shuts for maintenance

BlueScope Steel’s last remaining working blast furnace has been shut down for maintenance early this morning.

Blast Furnace number 5 at Port Kembla will be shut for roughly 60 hours for operations including a “small capital works” upgrade to its raw materials feeding system.

A reline of the blast furnace in 2009 is expected to extend its life for two decades, the Illawarra Mercury reports.

"We're about three-and-a-bit years in,” general manager of steelmaking John Nowlan told the Mercury.

"It's operated at full production basically all the way through and it continues to do that."

BlueScope’s only other operational blast furnace, number 6, was shut in early October as part of the company’s restructuring.